Heterogeneity of health disparities among African American, Hispanic, and Asian American women: unrecognized influences of sexual orientation

Am J Public Health. 2002 Apr;92(4):632-9. doi: 10.2105/ajph.92.4.632.


Objectives: This study compared health indicators among self-identified lesbians/bisexual women and heterosexual women residing in Los Angeles County.

Methods: Respondents were English-speaking Hispanic, African American, and Asian American women. Health status, behavioral risks, access barriers, and indicators of health care were assessed.

Results: Prevalence rates of chronic health conditions were similar among women in the 3 racial/ethnic groups. However, lesbians and bisexual women evidenced higher behavioral risks and lower rates of preventive care than heterosexual women.

Conclusions: Among racial/ethnic minority women, minority sexual orientation is associated with increased health risks. The effects of sexual minority status need to be considered in addressing health disparities affecting this population.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • African Americans / statistics & numerical data*
  • Asian Americans / statistics & numerical data*
  • Bisexuality / ethnology
  • Female
  • Health Services Accessibility
  • Health Status Indicators*
  • Heterosexuality / ethnology
  • Hispanic Americans / statistics & numerical data*
  • Homosexuality, Female / ethnology
  • Humans
  • Los Angeles / epidemiology
  • Middle Aged
  • Minority Groups / statistics & numerical data*
  • Population Surveillance
  • Risk Factors
  • Risk-Taking
  • Sexual Behavior / classification
  • Sexual Behavior / ethnology*
  • Socioeconomic Factors
  • Women's Health*